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What kind of assumptions does your company make when analyzing its target market? Has your company ever made a broad generalization when profiling age demographics?
We’re quick to make automatic judgements based on preconceived notions. It’s human nature. Plus, it’s easier to cast a wide net and sort consumers into categories.
It can be useful to build target profiles based on age groups – but it’s not always going to be accurate. It would be naive of a marketer to assume otherwise. Millennials can like Frank Sinatra and Baby Boomers can cruise around on Bird scooters. Stereotypes can get you in trouble if you buy into them too much.
With that in mind, here are six myths about age demographics and marketing.
Myth #1: Don’t bother advertising to aging consumers on digital platforms. They aren’t interested.
Although less tech-savvy as a whole than younger generations, Baby Boomers still consume digital content and use mobile devices for product research and purchases.
Per a survey by eMarketer, roughly six out of ten Baby Boomers made a purchase via phone, tablet, or computer in the last year. In other words, most boomers take advantage of the Internet’s convenience when shopping. With that in mind, it’s just as important to recognize which digital platform Baby Boomers prefer – the mighty computer.
If you’re looking to target older demographics, consider their preference for search engines when browsing/researching and Facebook as a social media platform.
Myth #2: Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z are the only generations worth targeting now.
Baby Boomers are still...well...booming with 70+ million people.
More importantly, from a consumer standpoint, Baby Boomers are estimated to control about 70% of total disposable income in the United States. That’s a serious amount of purchasing power to simply ignore. On top of that, with life expectancy rates trending higher – this generation looks to remain prominent for years to come.
This longevity can be attributed to active, healthier lifestyles – which is driven by better food choices, increased emphasis on exercise, and healthcare advancements.
Myth #3: Most Baby Boomers have smartphones – we should shift all our attention to mobile-marketing.
Half of this statement is true – about 80% of Americans have smartphones. However, that doesn’t mean everyone who owns a smartphone uses it for online shopping.
Per the same eMarketer survey, only 36% of respondents older than 55 years had made a purchase via a mobile app in the last year. Mobile advertising and marketing may be growing as a whole – but, if you want to target older generations, it’s important to recognize mobile isn’t a one size fits all approach. Baby Boomers prefer using their computer – more specifically search engines – to conduct research and make purchases.
Myth #4: Millennials are financially better off than their predecessors.
Quite the opposite.
According to Deloitte’s research, Millennials’ financial profiles have been significantly declining. The average net worth of consumers under the age of 35 has decreased by 34% since 1996 – from $12,000 to $8,000. Especially when you incorporate inflation, that’s a scary figure. In other words, Millennials may be an attractive demographic in terms of longevity – but they’re less financially stable than older generations, which means less buying power.
Myth #5: Younger generations don’t care about brands.
According to a survey by Deloitte, younger generations tend to believe that brands influence who they are and how they’re perceived. To put it simply: they do care.
But more importantly, companies with brands that are associated with social responsibility and giving back to the community are more likely to influence younger generations. Per another survey, when asked if brands should take public stands on social values, 74% of respondents between the ages of 22 and 37 said yes – brands should. Not only that, 61% of respondents stated that they’d make a brand recommendation to a friend if that brand aligned with the respondent’s social values.
Brand expectations are growing – and the trends suggest the importance of community involvement will only continue to rise.
Myth #6: Older generations don’t use social media.
Social media use is prevalent across the age spectrum. However, social media tends to be used differently by age demographic.
Younger generations are more likely to utilize social media for brand engagement and community involvement like tagging a favorite sports team or adult beverage company’s account in a tweet, trying to solicit a response. Or tagging an airline in a post after a negative flight experience.
On the other hand, older generations are more likely to use social media – particularly Facebook – for product/service reviews and testimonials. Social media marketing is critical – but keep these patterns in mind when organizing your marketing approach.
As eCommerce grows, so too does digital marketing and advertising. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that digital ad spending is anticipated to surpass traditional ad spending in the United States this year.
In the digital age, marketers have scrambled to establish brand preference with and gain the loyalty of the most digitally inclined generations – Millennials and Gen Zers. Per a study by Hitachi Consulting, 74% of retailers have angled their services towards younger consumers who still have a lifetime of purchases to make. But, with the average life expectancy in the U.S. trending towards 80 years, it would be shortsighted to alienate older consumers.
Baby boomers are roughly 75 million strong and control most of the country’s disposable income (estimated at 70% in 2015).
You might be thinking, “sure, that’s significant – but does digital marketing really appeal to older generations?”
It’s easy to associate tech savviness with youth. Millennials (for the most part) and Gen Zers have grown up in a world that’s adapted to the Internet – and they’re connected across various platforms like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and smartwatches.
Conversely (for perspective), boomers experienced the first black-and-white and color televisions. Can you imagine telling a young Gen Zer that the screens they’ve grown so accustomed to didn’t always exist?
But baby boomers aren’t as digitally inept as you’d think.
According to eMarketer, the majority of boomers (59%) make at least one digital (e.g. via computer, phone, or tablet) purchase each year. Although far less than Millennials (84.8%) and Gen X (77.5%), this still demonstrates digital marketing efforts can engage older consumers.
Considering the sheer size of this cohort and its buying power, retailers should continue to market to baby boomers via traditional and digital channels. That being said, it’s important to recognize how baby boomers are shopping online.
Baby boomers aren’t as mobile-friendly as Millennials and Gen Zers. Per an eMarketer survey, only 46% of participants between the ages of 55 and 65 used a mobile retail app to research potential purchases – and only 39% actually made a purchase on a mobile retail app.
The marketing shift to increase mobile efforts is understandable as smartphones and apps have reshaped our day-to-day lives. Especially considering people spend over three hours a day on their phone. However, studies have shown that the vast majority of baby boomers’ screen time is spent on the computer. Further, according to GfK’s 2018 FutureBuy report, almost 80% of boomers had shopped on a computer in the previous six months, but only 33% said they’d done so via their phone.
Older consumers prefer to browse, research, and consume content elsewhere. Blogs and online articles are a valuable source of information for baby boomers. From a social media standpoint, most baby boomers’ activity can be found on Facebook. According to a DMN3 study, over 80% of baby boomers are on Facebook. Further, over 50% of boomers will continue browsing products – whether on a company website or via search engine – after encountering an ad, testimonial, or review on social media.
Another key difference between older and younger generations is time spent browsing/researching purchases. Millennials are known for impulse purchases – but baby boomers are far less likely to make such swift decisions. Marketing that relies on impulse tactics is less suitable. Older individuals are more calculated and patient with respect to shopping around and assessing options – and they prefer to do it on the computer.
So, if older demographics are within your target customer base – make sure you’re keeping their preferences in mind. We can help you create a digital + print marketing strategy to engage with your audience. Reach out to us to learn more.
Since the early 2000s many marketers have placed all of their eggs in one basket – the digital one – leaving print out of the mix. And you would think that reaching Millennials in digital channels is the best strategy, but what if you could successfully use paper to drive them to those channels first? You can, and we know it works.
Millennial consumers have digital experiences that are dominated by a constant rotation of devices and screen time filled with commercial and editorial content, instant messages, alerts, pop-ups, and so on.
To cut through the noise, consider using direct mail to point Millennials to your social media channels, or send them compelling offers. In other words, use print to market around the digital fatigue.
The proof really is in the pudding. Customers are always shocked when we share this statistic from Summit Research: 82% of Millennials sort their mail to see what to keep – including advertising mail, coupons, and flyers – as opposed to only 76% of non-Millennials. Those are high numbers, proving that direct mail an important way to reach them.
With a tangible marketing piece, your engagement will go up because people pay more attention to offers in the mail versus digital pop-up ads that flash on the screen. Digital ads can be viewed as intrusive, but direct mail is not.
Millennials are often on a tight budget, so it makes sense that they are emerging as heavy coupon users. It’s important to get in front of them early in the research phase to make sure your brand is in the running. So don’t skip print in your quest to reach your audience. And, just because your customer placed an order with his or her mobile device, don’t assume that mobile communications drove the action!
For starters, a great way to go is to appeal to the values of Millennials and incorporate multimedia, like bar codes or link directly to an interactive experience. Being authentic is very important since Millennials find traditional advertising untrustworthy. Also, keep in mind that every customer is different, so give them multiple ways to respond to your offer for the best ROI.
If you understand this generation, then you know Millennials are compassionate and want to improve the world by helping to make an impact. Campaigns that donate a percentage of profits to a cause they can get behind, or that show corporate responsibility will leave a lasting impression on your target Millennial.
No doubt we have come full circle, and it is time to once again engage people in an environment mostly free of distractions and noise – at least the digital kind. If you need pointers crafting your next direct mail or omnichannel campaign, we are here to help!
There are many different reasons why consumers choose one brand over another, but the more you can do to appeal to them on an emotional level, the better your chances of gaining loyal customers.
Here are four tips to help you positively impact a customer’s buying journey as they travel through the funnel.
1. Personalize Your Message – I can’t encourage that enough. No matter if your audience is in-store or online, the expectations of a personalized experience is becoming higher and higher with every touchpoint.
People love to see their own name in print or on a product. Coca-Cola does a great job of creating an emotional connection by personalizing – depending on what part of country you are from – their soda bottles and cans with your name or even your favorite sports team. Consumers like to feel as if something was made especially for them, and this example hits it out of park.
2. Provide Excellent Customer Service – 83% of consumers prefer dealing with a living, breathing human being when it comes to customer service issues, even on digital channels, says research from Accenture. Never forget that your customer support team is the front line of your company, and they have a large role in driving customer loyalty. More than half of the people surveyed say they have switched to a competitive brand due to a poor customer experience.
3. Help Protect the Environment – Taking a stand on environmental issues can not only help the planet, but also in getting a leg up on the competition. Consumers have been taking notice when companies engage in corporate responsibility that results in better business practices. In fact, consumers admittedly pay more for products and services delivered by brands that are committed to positive change in our environment. It’s a win-win for all.
Operating under the RR Donnelly umbrella, Mount Vernon has the support of making wise business choices to help sustain our environment. Just like our parent company, we strive to continuously improve global Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) performance. Our shared policies include protecting employees and the environment, whether it be reducing the quantity of emissions, developing opportunities for recycling and pollution prevention, or using paper and other resources more efficiently. Every day, we reduce, reuse and recycle in our printing facility.
4. Loyalty Programs are a Must – There is no doubt that loyalty programs affect shopping habits, no matter what you sell. If you want to ensure customers keep coming back, a well-designed loyalty program is one of the best ways to do that. The most successful programs include a point system, like airline miles or hotel points, where customers earn and redeem points in a repetitive manner.
Also, 93% of consumers agree that they are happy with loyalty programs when communications are relevant. Collect good data through sign-up forms that allow you to get to know your customer. Use this data to reach out during life events – a wedding, a new baby, or a birthday – with targeted direct mail campaigns.
When it comes to Association marketing, there are some proven approaches you can take to retain – and gain – the types of members you target.
One of my favorites is creating heroes. The key is truly to position your association as a guide, not the hero, which should be reserved for the members.
How do I make a member a hero, you ask?
That is most easily done through storytelling, and frankly, members tell the best stories. This strategy will help you attract the members you do want, and at the same time, it can repel the members you don’t want.
As with anyone shopping a brand, customers want to be able to peer inside and take a look at what you can offer them before they buy. It’s the same with any association. This strategy will help you deliver on that and allow them to check you out.
For starters, identify current members who highly rank your organization. Then, match those members with your values. Make a list of those members and concentrate on making them heroes that can potentially tell your story for you.
Make them “famous” by letting them promote your association with a story. In turn, you will attract more of the types of members you seek. This strategy will also help you to tell your story before someone else does.
Focus on who
Focusing on “the who,” not “the what,” will magnetize your marketing. Those who put the emphasis on what will ultimately make their association transactional, which equates to making your offering replaceable. Nobody wants that!
Testimonials are a great way to start telling stories; depending on the story you can use them in every area of your business – to support recruitment renewals, membership renewals, and events and programs.
Another tip is to demonstrate how your offering can take audiences from where they are now to a better scenario that improves their lives. This story can be told by your members or even your association.
Getting the story out
Consider sharing stories both digitally and through print with newsletters or brochures.
Digitally, you can double your open rates when you lead with a human-interest story. It doesn’t have to be about your association. In fact, you should be sure to distribute a small percentage of content to your audience that doesn’t include a mention of your association.
Note: Companies who do it right include being helpful as a part of their brand promise whether consumers do business with them or not. Back to the newsletter, include stories about a member running a marathon, or doing good in their community (this is what makes them the hero).
No doubt, this type of strategy will help your build your own community. Even better, research what your members care about most and include those topics in your newsletters.
Don’t forget print! Give members something tactile to peruse to further their connection with your association. By adding a printed newsletter to your communications plan, you start to build a relationship of trust. Hint: People like to do business with those whom they trust!
Newsletters, brochures, and direct mail all allow you to sell one-to-one. People spend on average 30 minutes on any given day reading through their physical mail, as compared to 11.1 seconds on one email.
At Mount Vernon Print, we do believe in a multichannel philosophy. Combining print with a digital strategy is really one of the best ways to reach the right members and potential ones. Try a mix and then figure out what works best for your association.
Overall, be sure your members feel valued and provide them with value, and of course – make them heroes! We would be happy to help you with that.
In my experience, leaders come in many different “personality” shapes and sizes. The great ones though, seem to have some common characteristics to me that stand out. Experts on the topic of leadership agree that there are certain principles needed in order to lead a team to greatness.
One characteristic that great leaders share is the common ability to adapt to their surroundings while empowering a team to succeed. They understand that fostering a strong culture supports the foundation for accomplishing any mission.
In business – and in life for that matter – change is inevitable, and great leaders embrace change and are always preparing for it.
Some leaders are loud, and some are a bit more introverted. Some have excellent intuition, and some rely more on data analytics to guide them, while others rely on both data and their gut instincts. The great ones will work to continually improve their emotional intelligence (IQ).
According to a survey conducted with the American Board of Experts, these qualities are the common links among great leaders:
1) Strong beliefs / motivation
Great leaders have conviction when it comes to their ideas. Without it, they can’t expect others to follow them, right? From there, they build steam by listening to others.
A great leader will never force someone to follow him or her – the following should happen organically through encouragement. They lead by example, always putting their best foot forward. Showing passion, having confidence in themselves and their followers will motivate and inspire a team of people to be the best they can be.
2) Respect / team building
It’s not possible to lead effectively without respect. Good leaders build a good, cohesive team by showing respect, and interest in their ideas. They show empathy to others around them to make an emotional connection with their team members. They are able to communicate and listen well.
It’s crucial that they understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. Successful leaders also surround themselves with strong individuals that they can mold into a “well-oiled machine” of competent people that work well together. They also tend to have the skill to nurture others to create the leaders of tomorrow.
3) Striving to be better
Great leaders strive not only to improve their emotional IQ, but they are always looking to make constant improvements to their company’s inner workings with the latest technology, or a breakthrough that could propel their business to the next level. They are prepared for almost anything that comes their way.
They have a clear vision and use available resources to solve problems. They make tough decisions and take risks knowing that they could be wrong. They take responsibility by admitting to mistakes. When things go right, they shine the spotlight on others, taking pride that they helped along the way. Having a clear vision also enables good leaders to strategically plan.
Not only do they demonstrate a clear focus, but they are courageous, display honesty, integrity, humility – which leads me to the next much-overlooked trait.
When envisioning the top characteristics of great leaders, humility probably doesn’t come to mind, but this one is just as important as the rest. People often think that showing humility is a weakness, but that really isn’t the case.
Research shows that humility is more closely associated with positive qualities including sincerity, modesty, fairness, loyalty, and authenticity. It is possible to possess these traits while still being strong and courageous.
Leaders who are humble aren’t afraid to hire people who are smarter than them. Rather, they surround themselves with the right people and encourage them to speak up. They champion the best ideas, no matter who thought of them. This type of culture can cultivate the best from every department in any company.
Humble leaders not only admit to their mistakes, but they often try to understand where they went wrong or what can be done to prevent mistakes in the future. They acknowledge this negative feedback with a thoughtful response.
No matter what traits leaders have though, at the end of the day it really comes down to simply getting the job done. To make the world a better place, hopefully, the great ones will possess the traits above.
Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash
As a marketer, you know that utilizing data is the key to reaching the right customers at the right time. Hopefully, your team analyzes data as much as possible to help guide your company’s strategy and decision-making.
More specifically, when it comes to direct mail, it is possible to be proactive about customer engagement by using technology. By understanding customer engagement prior to production—not months afterward—you can ensure better decision-making and a better return on your campaign investment.
TrackMaven says that 47.5% of marketers believe they are “data-informed” yet their analysis only happens after-the-fact to see what worked as they pore over campaign results. A majority of marketers know that testing effectively using direct mail can be very challenging.
The best way to become proactive with direct mail is to use technology, like Acuity by RR Donnelley. This digital mail-sort simulator uses predictive analysis to reduce design and mailing costs. Because of its ability to improve audience targeting, it also increases the response rate to ensure success.
Acuity is full of features that deliver:
- Cost Reduction – Identify the best-perceived offer and eliminate production costs that might have been spent on direct mail pieces that do not resonate with the intended audience.
- Improved Targeting – Creative variables are evaluated based on responses in time to refine (or create new) messaging.
- Quicker Results – Wait time is reduced. It only takes about four weeks to understand which creative will generate the best results.
- Dynamic Testing – Testing multiple features against each other within a controlled environment drives more relevant messaging.
In short, Acuity gives you the ability to test and identify which format, offer or imagery will receive the best response. So, when the remainder of the direct mail pieces in your campaign goes out, you can have confidence that your campaign will achieve the biggest impact, making you a proactive marketer.
Contact me to learn more about how to drive engagement and measurable ROI with your direct mail campaigns.
Photo: courtesy of Franki Chamaki of Unsplash
At Mount Vernon Print, we see marketers using direct mail more and more because of its power to acquire new customers. If your company is also utilizing direct mail for an integrated omnichannel strategy, we’re sharing a tip with you that you need to take advantage of.
It is possible to also turn your direct mail piece into an email in a snap by using a free service offered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) called Informed Delivery.
Informed Delivery provides marketers with two for the price of one by generating multiple impressions from a single mail piece. How, you ask? The service sends email notifications about what is to come in their physical mail a day or two before it is scheduled to arrive.
The Informed Delivery notification lets customers (who opt-in) view digitally-scanned images of letter-size mail and color images from participating mailers via the mobile app, online or in a daily email at any time. This is especially useful for people who travel, and frankly, who doesn’t want to know what’s coming in the mail?
The USPS launched this service as a limited area pilot program about four years ago, and it continues to grow every year. As of this year, 13.8 million people have registered for Informed Delivery, and more than half of those registered did opt-in for the email notifications to see what the mailman is bringing them. Boiling it down by the number of residences, 11.7 million households are registered.
The numbers don’t lie, people like it! A recent report from USPS said that 93% of registered users would recommend Informed Delivery to friends, family, or colleagues. And, looking at the results of the first one million records emailed through Informed delivery, they received an 83% open rate – more than twice that of any industry average.
How marketers can use Informed Delivery
The process is actually pretty simple. Note: For a letter, postcard, or flat to be eligible for Informed Delivery, it must be automation-compatible and scanned through USPS equipment.
First, create hard copy mail as usual, determine the type of campaign you’ll be conducting, and develop your mailing list. Design your piece with this in mind:
- Offer a strong call-to-action including interactive content. Provide a direct URL that helps to drive consumer response.
- Design the paper piece with a clean, simple layout with digital viewing in mind
- Size your direct mail piece to 300px width by 200px height
Second, provide USPS with campaign elements. They offer two methods of self-serve campaign submission. The most common method is the Mailer Campaign Portal, where 95% of campaigns are entered.
Third, induct your mailing as usual. Then sit back and digitally monitor the progress. You can analyze the results of your direct mail campaign by viewing email open rates and the number of click-throughs – providing additional insights to optimize your marketing spend.
We would be happy to assist you with your campaign utilizing Informed Delivery. Contact me and I will show you how to utilize this in your next campaign.
Decisions are a part of everyday life, whether it’s what shirt to wear or signing on the dotted line for a million-dollar business venture. So, how should we formulate a decision? I’ve found that the best approach is using multiple decision-making tools to get to the best answer for everyone.
Those making decisions currently rely at least partially on artificial intelligence. According to the 2018 Data and Marketing Association (DMA) Statistical Fact Book, 51% of marketing leaders already use, or plan to use, AI technology over the next two years, and about 50% said, “it is an important objective to make decisions based on data.”
What about good old-fashioned intuition? Using one’s gut instinct can only take you so far. It’s important to be objective and leverage good data to support the ideas you have.
In fact, the successful people that I know analyze data and use their intuition to make sound business decisions.
Mistakes will undoubtedly happen, but when they do, reduce your risk as much as possible by finding ways to lessen the loss. There is much to be learned from failure.
Some say Thomas Edison failed over 1,000 times before he invented the light bulb. He had a different take on his innovation. Edison said, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." Successful people will have a plan B in place, knowing that circumstances vary and may not be within their control.
It’s important to do your research before making decisions. Even if everyone is in favor of an idea, you should still do your due diligence before forging ahead. Good decision-making entails a balance of taking time to do your homework, and being careful not to purposely look for red flags that could derail you or squash the entrepreneurial spirit of a team.
I find that I gain insight when I least expect it. For clarity, be sure to give your brain a break. Slowing down gives you the ability to listen to your instincts with better clarity: This is why meditation is practiced by so many.
The most important thing -- look at the entire picture when making big decisions. Ask yourself these questions:
- How will it impact future business or future opportunities?
- How will it fit in with my current responsibilities and priorities?
- Will I need to put something else on the back burner?
Reach out. Don’t make decisions in isolation. Tap into your team or a network for insight. The best question to ask others is “What is your thinking on this?” It will give you the most helpful feedback. Never ask what they think you should do, and keep your confidant group small if you are seeking fast input for quicker decisions.
Photo: Courtesy Fancycrave on Unsplash
Can you believe that inkjet printing has captured half of the digital color print market globally? We can because it is more capable than ever of overcoming many of today’s print manufacturing challenges and it delivers just what our customers need!
As technology progresses, so do customer expectations of a seamless brand experience — this includes personalization in all channels. We know from experience that inkjet technology is the perfect tool to complement an omnichannel approach.
Inkjet technology ensures your communications are agile, and it delivers 100% personalization across an entire page. Brands can maintain a flow of relevant physical communications that complement other channels OR can be integrated with the branded interactions your customers are probably already receiving in the digital channel.
If millennials are part of your target audience, then even more reason to shift your strategy to include personalized print, because 84% of millennials willingly spend time opening and looking through their mail, according to a recent white paper by Xerox.
You are most likely familiar with older print methods, like offset. Consider these advantages of using inkjet technology:
- Print cost-effectively by incorporating customized full-color marketing content even on high volumes
- Improve time-to-market for targeted publications
- Produce high-volume jobs cost-effectively with a shorter lead time
- Transform catalogs from static offset to personalized, revenue-driving communications
- Create large ROI-driving personalized and triggered direct mail campaigns.
While we are on the subject of personalization, it’s hard not to mention the importance of data management and the skills that are needed to support increased personalization. Appropriately managing customer data will help to determine how best to generate customized offers based of off each person’s history and preferences.
Digital technology is probably more versatile than most people know! Consider inkjet for all of your print needs, whether those pieces are books, transactional, commercial print, or catalogs.
Increasingly, customers expect a smooth connection across all their touchpoints. Mount Vernon can help you get there with a deeper level of engagement and value with inkjet technology!
Photo: Courtesy of Xerox